By LULU MARK
A DOCTOR says the current increase in the Covid-19 cases in the country is to be expected, and may even reach the thousands between September and December.
Professor Glen Mola, who had warned early last month when the number was still well below 20 that there would be a surge, told The National yesterday the continuing increase would put a strain on the PNG health system.
He therefore urged everyone to work together to “flatten the curve”.
“There is no sudden spike in infections. This is the expected trend of infection,” he said.
“Let’s hope we can flatten the curve sufficiently (and not) to allow our health system to fall over.”
The national total had risen from 15 on July 17 to 136 yesterday – a period of three weeks.
Prof Mola is the head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the School of Medicine and Health Science, and at the Port Moresby General Hospital.
He said the current increase in the Covid-19 cases was to be expected, with hundreds more of positive infections this month, going up to the thousands in the coming months.
He explained that according to the progress of infections in the world, PNG was always a couple of months behind as regards acute infections such as the Covid-19.
“Most countries were in a latent phase of the infection increase in January to March, and then the number started to climb slowly in March-April and started rising exponentially from May,” he said.
“PNG was in the latent phase of the epidemic from March to May (when the rest of the world was from January to March).
“PNG had an upswing slow-rise trend of the epidemic in June-July (when the rest of the world was in March-April).
“In August we enter the exponential rise part of the epidemic. We will have hundreds of positive test infections and perhaps thousands in September to December.”
But he advised people and authorities to remain calm.
“We must stay calm and handle things as best we can. The fear of the epidemic could be worse than the actual epidemic itself,” he said.
He also advised the Government not to lock down the country too much lest it “fall over economically”.
“It is a fine line and the government will need to take sensible advice – but at regular intervals – because the circumstances of our epidemic will change from week to week,” Prof Mola said.
By LULU MARK